Here are some rather recent films that I loved and seem particularly CFI friendly. The reviews are Netflix blurbs, not mine.
When an American couple (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) vacationing in Morocco fall victim to a random act of violence, a series of events unfolds across four countries that demonstrates both the necessity and impossibility of human communication. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu artfully weaves together three seemingly disparate stories of strangers in strange lands in this Oscar nominee for Best Picture and Golden Globe winner for Best Drama.
Director Jafar Panahi’s portrait of the status of women in fundamentalist Iran is, by any stretch of the imagination, depressing. But just getting the film made was a major political feat, given Iran’s dogmatic view of women and unstable political climate. The fact that this film (made by a man) is sensitive to women’s plight sheds a ray of hope that, given time, things may gradually change.
City of God
Busca-Pe (Alexandre Rodrigues) lives in Cidade de Deus (City of God), a housing project reputed to be one of the most dangerous parts of otherwise magical Rio de Janeiro. He’s frightened he’ll end up like the countless others around him—troubled, violent or dead. But his saving grace is his photographer’s eye, through which the stories of several people who live in this forsaken “city” unfold. …
Beginning with Darwin’s revolutionary theory, this eight-hour, seven-part PBS documentary series explores all facets of evolution, offering a groundbreaking and definitive view of the extraordinary impact the evolutionary process has had on our understanding of the world around us. Liam Neeson narrates.
The Life of Mammals
Naturalist David Attenborough hosts this fascinating documentary about the earth’s most diverse species, from the tiny pygmy shrew to the gargantuan blue whale. Humans—who are mammals, of course—also come under scrutiny in this series, which may be Attenborough’s finest.
This stunning film, the first to be made in a post-Taliban Afghanistan and inspired by a newspaper account read by director Siddiq Barmak, recounts the efforts of a family of women to survive under an oppressive regime. To eke out a meager living, they dress up their 12-year-old girl, Osama, as a boy so she can work. A talented cast of non-actors—including Marina Golbahari and Zubaida Sahar—adds integrity to the heartbreaking story.
Amazing cinematography and gorgeous music fill this documentary-adventure created by French filmmakers Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debat and Jacques Perrin. Presented with almost no narration and filmed primarily from a bird’s perspective, this study of the lives and habits of migrating birds re-creates as nearly as possible the experiences of the birds themselves.